Emilio Huerta drops out of Congressional race; Central Valley businessman steps in

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Democrat Emilio Huerta decided to drop out of the Congressional race to unseat Republican David Valadao, but another candidate was ready to step in.

Huerta, the son of activist Dolores Huerta, intended to challenge incumbent David Valadao for the 21st Congresionl District seat, but on Friday, in an opinion piece for the Fresno Bee, he announced he would drop out.

Huerta told 17 News Valdao has the advantage as the incumbent, but believes voters will vote on the issues.

"when you have an elected official who doesn't really advocate for the issues that impact the community, then that's going to impact the voters and I think the voters will see through that," Huerta said.

Huerta and Valadao also had large differences in funding. Federal Election Commission filings from last year show Huerta had just under $100,000 on hand for the campaign while Valadao had just under $1 million.

Meanwhile, stepping in to challenge Valadao is Central Valley businessman and engineer T.J. Cox who officially entered the race. 

Rumors of Cox running against Valadao surfaced soon after Huerta announced he was dropping out.

Cox claims his investments in small business have created more than 1,500 jobs in the Central Valley as well as five new health clinics.

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